Referral process to palliative care for patients
You may refer your patient if their physical, social, emotional, psychological, cultural or spiritual needs exceed:
- your knowledge and experience with palliative care
- your resource or facility capacity
- their own resources or those of their carer or family.
Other reasons include:
- the patient develops a new problem or requires change in management or emergency treatment
- the patient’s family or carer experiences a change in their situation
- as appropriate to the needs and wishes of the patient, carer and family
- where a referral can enhance end-of-life care
- the patient, family or carer require further emotional/psychological or bereavement support.
Criteria for referral
- have been diagnosed with a life-limiting illness
- agree to being referred or patient’s ‘person responsible’ agrees if the patient does not have capacity
- be generally aware of their diagnosis.
Special consideration needs are given to:
- children and young adults
- temporarily or permanently incompetent adults
- people with special needs related to their cultural beliefs.
How to make a referral
A referral can be made by:
- the person with the life-limiting illness (patient)
- the patient’s primary care provider
- a family member or carer.
If the referral is not made by a health professional, we will consult with the patient's general practitioner or specialist before accepting the referral.
How we assess a referral
- Our interdisciplinary team of medical, nursing and allied health staff review all referrals.
- We will contact the patient as soon as possible, depending upon the urgency.
- If we have a high volume of urgent referrals, we contact the referrer and patient to advise the waiting time.
- If the patient’s condition changes, the referrer should contact us for an urgent assessment.
What happens after the assessment?
We will contact the person making the referral to:
- advise our assessment outcome
- negotiate arrangements for the patient's care.
Palliative care service delivery
Assessment includes advising the primary care provider’s level of involvement as outlined in the Palliative Care Service Delivery Model:
- consultation only (Level 2)
- ongoing shared care (Level 3)
- more involved role (Level 4).
Patients are reviewed weekly as required. You may be invited to attend these meetings if a more detailed discussion is required.
Specialist Palliative Care Service
The Specialist Palliative Care Service (SPCS) provide consultation and assessment to support palliative care health professionals. Our SPCS community team offers:
- expert advice in clinical management
- assessment and care planning
- education for health professionals
- advocacy for clients, families and carers, and palliative care providers.
- assessment and advice for the management of complex symptoms
- advance care planning and medical goals of care
- Practical care planning for dying
- Psychosocial client and caregiver support
- Bereavement care for close family and carers of people who have been registered with the service.